Women's Football

Man Utd 1-6 Chelsea: Player ratings as Blues' frontline stars in thumping WSL win

Krishan Davis
Sam Kerr celebrates one of her strikes
Sam Kerr celebrates one of her strikes / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Reigning Women's Super League champions Chelsea put in a dominant display away from home to thump Manchester United 6-1 on Sunday afternoon, bringing an abrupt end to their hosts' unbeaten start.

The visitors were ahead within two minutes, but almost scored within the first 15 seconds. First, Sam Kerr saw her shot pushed round the post by Mary Earps in the first attack of the match, before an error from former Chelsea player Hannah Blundell a minute later gifted possession to the Australian, who squared for Fran Kirby to tap home.

United seemed to have steadied the ship and grew into the game, but a moment of genius from Pernille Harder made it 2-0 midway through the half. Picking up the ball on the halfway line, the Dane carried the ball the length of the Red Devils' half before lifting a cute finish over Earps.

Shortly before half-time it was three as Chelsea capitalised on another error as a result of United attempting to play out from the back, with Guro Reiten nicking it and passing to Kirby, who returned the favour for Kerr.

Substitute Alessia Russo hauled United back into the game early in the second period as her shot deflected in, but another Kerr tap-in restored the three-goal lead almost immediately - although she looked offside and there is no VAR in the WSL.

The impressive Russo produced an excellent turn and smashed the crossbar later in the half, but that was the hosts' final opening before Chelsea substitutes Drew Spence and Jessie Fleming netted late goals from inside the penalty area to add further gloss to the scoreline.

The result lifts Chelsea to third in the WSL, while Man Utd are fifth.

Here's how the players rated...

Man Utd Women player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Melanie Leupolz, Hannah Blundell
Hannah Blundell made a mistake against her former side / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Mary Earps (GK) - 5/10 - Forced into an early save from Kerr following her own mistake. Could do nothing as she was beaten by Kirby a minute later. Gave it away again later in the half, but escaped punishment.

Hannah Blundell (RB) - 6/10 - Against her former club, gave the ball away poorly for the opener. Got forward really well at times.

Maria Thorisdottir (CB) - 5/10 - Carried the ball out well but sometimes failed to make a telling pass. Run ragged by Harder for Chelsea's second.

Aoife Mannion (CB) - 6/10 - Struggled against Chelsea's fluid frontline, but was composed and played the ball out well.

Ona Batlle (LB) - 6/10 - Good battle with Niamh Charles on her flank but unable to influence the game going forward.

2. Midfielders

Jackie Groenen, Pernille Harder
Jackie Groenen battles for possession / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Katie Zelem (DM) - 6/10 - Played a wonderful ball over the top, but Lucy Staniforth couldn't control. Gave the ball away horribly for Chelsea's third.

Jackie Groenen (DM) - 6/10 - Generally neat and tidy, but was left in Harder's wake for 2-0. Subbed after the break.

Lucy Staniforth (AM) - 5/10 - Unable to get into the game, other than one nice through ball. Subbed at the midway point.

3. Forwards

Kirsty Hanson, Magdalena Eriksson
Kirsty Hanson impressed / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Kirsty Hanson (RW) - 7/10 - Dragged the hosts' first effort of the match wide. Brilliant turn and run early in the second half, but to no avail. Posed a threat until the full-time whistle.

Ella Toone (ST) - 7/10 - Kept quiet early on. Explosive start to the second half, assisting Russo with a cute pass. Far more lively and creative after the break in a deeper role.

Leah Galton (LW) - 5/10 - Not really able to get into the game before being subbed.

4. Substitutes

Alessia Russo - 8/10 - Immediate impact, coming off the bench at half-time and seeing her effort deflected past Berger. Excellent turn before smashing the crossbar later in the second period.

Hayley Ladd - N/A

Carrie Jones - N/A

Chelsea Women player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Kirsty Hanson, Magdalena Eriksson
Eriksson was solid / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Ann-Katrin Berger (GK) - 7/10 - Quickly off her line to deny Blundell. No chance with the goal. Good late save from Toone.

Millie Bright (CB) - 6/10 - Some important interventions in the first period. Excellent ball-playing when she stepped forward too. Played Russo onside for United's goal.

Jess Carter (CB) - 7/10 - A rock at the back, keeping Toone at bay in the first half. Chelsea's defence struggled with Russo as a unit.

Magdalena Eriksson (CB) - 7/10 - Stepped forward to snap into a few good tackles. Volleyed a decent chance over the bar.

6. Wing-backs & midfielders

Melanie Leupolz, Ella Toone
Melanie Leupolz kept the midfield moving / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Niamh Charles (RWB) - 6/10 - Didn't really put a foot wrong, getting forward well, but subbed shortly after half-time.

Sophie Ingle (CM) - 7/10 - Anchored the midfield well, keeping things ticking over. So composed, produced a turn Johan Cruyff would have been proud of.

Melanie Leupolz (CM) - 7/10 - Sometimes loose in possession but busied herself with tackling and interceptions, almost forcing a goal before half-time. Often the link between midfield and attack.

Guro Reiten (LWB) - 7/10 - A constant threat down the left. So sharp to read the play and help to create the third. Subbed.

7. Forwards

Pernille Harder, Maria Thorisdottir, Jackie Groenen
Harder charges through to score / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Fran Kirby (RF) - 8/10 - A 50th WSL goal! A tap-in, but they all count. Simple assist for Kerr to round off a fine first half. Laid on a second for the Australian before going off.

Sam Kerr (ST) - 8/10 - Went close in the opening seconds before assisting Kirby moments later. Fired an inch wide of the post then scored a tap in after a mistake. Doubled up at the second time of asking straight after United's goal. Subbed.

Pernille Harder (LF) - 8/10 - Wonderful, wonderful individual goal, running from halfway before lifting a perfect finish over Earps. Linked with her fellow forwards beautifully.

8. Substitutes

Jonna Andersson - 6/10

Bethany England - 6/10 - Worked hard for the team to see out the win.

Jessie Fleming - 8/10 - Assist for fellow sub Spence before adding a goal.

Jorja Fox (LF) - 7/10 - Impressive stuff from the 18-year-old.

Drew Spence - 7/10 - Goal off the bench.